The first half of the year has certainly been a challenging one. The disruption caused by the global pandemic has brought the value of content into sharp focus as companies look for affordable marketing strategies to engage with audiences and attract qualified leads.
Take stock and move forward
After two months of short-term adjustment to changing circumstances, now is a good time to analyse and evaluate your existing content marketing strategy in preparation for H2 2020.
A campaign centred on ad spend on Facebook may have worked back in January, but is it best for you right now? Advertising could be diverting funds away from content at a time when you need a cost-effective and flexible marketing output for maximum reach.
To gauge how best to move forward, you should look at what is working and what might need improvement to inform a better content strategy for the summer and into autumn.
Your general business expectations should also play a role here. Are you expecting physical stores, if you have any, to open again during the next few weeks? Do you need more content to direct customers to your online domain to support a shortfall in in-store customers?
Having a strategy that can fit into potential changes for your business during the next few weeks and months will stand you in good stead. Try to come up with that strategy as soon as possible.
Double down on blog creation
Blogs have been the cornerstone of campaigns since content marketing became a primary method for driving engagement and generating leads in the digital realm in the mid to late 2000s.
While new formats have emerged since then, blogs are arguably the best jumping-off point for brands looking to establish an online presence. This is because of the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of organic content. All you need is a content writer, either from an internal team or outsourced via an agency, and a relevant topic.
From here, you can publish well-researched, informative and engaging blogs to a target audience that is now demanding content that solves pain points and problems. You can also use blogs as a means to push thought leadership or to cover trending developments in your industry in detail.
Blogs are particularly useful in the current climate as they allow you to talk to your audience directly. You may have already communicated some of your plans for the future to customers, but don’t miss out on exploring other tangential topics that are important to them right now.
For example, you could complete a blog on how you will support employees when all lockdown measures are eased later in the summer. Blogs will always have a place in the content marketing mix, but now is a great time to look at more creation in this area due to the expense of traditional marketing methods.
Support campaigns with email
Another mature channel that continues to age well is email marketing. There are now more than 5.5bn active email accounts globally and users open an average of 17.8% of all comms.
While marketers are quick to espouse the benefits of social media and its vast audience, the potential for engagement with email is often glossed over – even more baffling when you consider that the media email marketing return on investment stands at 122%.
As you pivot back to the basics in times of crisis, email and content can really work well together. Your emails should not be too pushy right now though. Try to balance sales messages with added-value marketing and follow up with emails that offer assurance and advice.
Showing genuine concern for your audience will have a positive impact on brand recall and loyalty. Customers will remember those that reached out to them during a difficult period and offered solutions that they can incorporate into their personal and professional lives.
Add videos where appropriate
Videos can be just as cost-effective as the blogs and articles. While many people think that video has to be premium and shot using a professional crew, this is not the case in 2020. Brands can come up with something special with a small budget just by setting up a channel on YouTube.
Google’s video platform was the second most used social media site in April, attracting 2 billion users. Whether you are operating in the B2B and B2C space, video can add an extra edge to your content marketing output. It can also complement many of the blogs you are publishing.
A HubSpot report found that 54% of consumers would like to see videos published by a brand or business they support. 90% also say that they are an important tool for making decisions about purchasing products and services.
The options for creative video are near limitless. Brand videos, for example, aim to build awareness about your company and entice your target audience to start some form of engagement. These require higher production values, but green lighting one or two of those could be a good idea.
For a starter video, perhaps use some educational or how-to videos based on topics that you have already covered to some extent in blogs. Your audience will have an expectation for content on these topics, so you will be satisfying their needs and offering up much-needed solutions and advice.
Take the time to build assets
Content is an asset and creating more of them will add value to your business. The focus may be on the short term for the time being, but you should also have an eye on building something greater in the months and years from now.
Creating value-driven content assets consistently should be your goal. Whether it is white papers, case studies, infographics or blogs, crafting content will keep you at the cutting edge of your industry and a step ahead of your competitors.
To conclude, an updated roadmap for H2 2020 and into 2021 will keep your content marketing efforts agile and ready to scale to your needs, changing business conditions and the demands of your audience.